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Real Valladolid 2-3 Atlético Madrid: Day-after reaction and notes

Some bulleted thoughts on a successful away day.

  • First thing I noticed — pretty lively and vocal crowd at the José Zorrilla, and the Atlético Madrid support was superb. Unfortunately haven’t had the chance to watch much Real Valladolid this season, but it’s hard to understand how they’re 16th in the home standings.
  • Wow, what a big win. Just Atlético’s second of the league season, it came in crazy/chaotic fashion and without Thomas Lemar, but a win is a win — and as of this writing, Atleti are in a three-way tie for first in LaLiga.
  • I thought Atlético should have played with more possession, but the hosts generated a paltry two shots on target from having 56 percent of the ball. Plan worked.
  • Valladolid’s two goals were extremely low-percentage chances per Understat. Fernando Calero’s header was worth just 0.02 xG, while the Saúl own goal wasn’t even a Valladolid shot attempt. Even then, this team’s set-piece defending must improve.
  • We haven’t had many discussions about Saúl’s form this season, but I think there’s an argument to be made that he’s been Atlético’s worst central midfielder to this point. Granted, the constant positional shuffling hasn’t helped him and Simeone has to take responsibility for that.
  • Kalinićismo is alive and well. Golazo.
  • Griezmann’s penalty was perfect, VAR got it right and he celebrated right on the spot. That was hilarious.
  • Yet another defensive injury. Filipe Luís had to come off on the hour with a thigh problem and he faces three weeks out. Yikes. Expect to see Saúl, Santiago Arias and Javi Montero battle for reps at left back until Filipe returns — or better yet, Lucas Hernández.
  • Vitolo completed five dribbles in under 25 minutes. Let this man start a game or two.
  • Stefan Savić had a really solid game. Eleven clearances, six headers won, only one big error and an assist on the winning goal (Rodri’s pass rolled off his backside and he made a short, quick pass in a crowd to Griezmann).
  • Griezmann capped a very aggressive day — six shots, three on target — with an 80th minute winner, wherein he brought out Jordi Masip and slid the ball into the big opening he left. Grizi even won a couple headers and made three clearances. As Opta might say — complete.